Sunday, June 12, 2011

Technology and Reality

This morning I had the opportunity to "chat" with my son-inlaw online. He is in Afganistan serving as an apache helicopter pilot. He is highly trained for an elite position in a very complicated war machine. He left days ago for Afganistan almost eleven hours "ahead" of us here in Central time for 12 months. It was night time for him and I was here in Costa Rica making cinnamon buns for our espresso cafe.
It has bothered me for awhile and today I "talked" to him about the effect of technology on the men overseas and their lives there.
With Iphones, Ipods, computers, Skype, and the like it doesn't seem that our loved ones are that far away and the import of what they are doing and why is diminished in away by technology and its easy assessablity when they are thousands of miles from home and alone.
The men and women in  The Revolutionary war, the war between the states, WW1 and WWII wrote letters to one another often not reaching their destinations for weeks at a time. Mail Call was an important event in the lives of soldiers. If they were lucky enough to receive a letter it was held in their shirt pockets next to their hearts til each loving word could be savored in a more quiet moment. Sometimes the soldiers would just stare at the handwriting conjuring up pictures of what their loved ones looked like as they were writing to them.
However, technology has changed this significantly and in many ways not for the best. This electronic communication though "awe- some"  in its ability to keep us connected has also stolen from us the realness of the situations of our soldiers. It doesn't feel like our loved ones are too far away because for the most part we can access them whenever we want somehow with online technology.  The reality of their situations are not any more real than a computer game to many people who aren't daily faced with this situation a son, husband, daughter, wife, brother, sister over in a different country serving our countries needs and desires "over there" A good percent of us don't even know where "over there is" sure we can name the countries but as it its exact location on a map without looking at it? uh no not many.
So I guess my point is that though technology has given us so much,  it has in a way stolen reality from us as well. Instant communication instead of face to face not skype...real face to face within touching distance. Our reality is not very clearly defined anymore unless you are a parent or sibling or loved one of a soldier "over there" or better yet.......the soldier over there.


  1. Personally I love the technology and being able to quickly contact people from across the world.

    AND there is something to be said for the the romance of the old fashion written a letter.

    There is an impersonality to the technological way we can communicate today. The fast pace world we live in of instant contact does take minimize the need for face to face.

    Maybe that is one reason Starbucks is so popular? It is the new old fashion communication spot.

  2. I too enjoy the ease that technology allows for communication to happen and the amount of work that one can get done in a shorter span of time. What I wanted to get across was the inevitable loss of personal contact. I do not believe there are many who even know what their loved ones handwriting looks like because they haven't really experienced it that often.
    I feel like because of the availability of technology the realities of war are held at a distance to us and not felt as strongly. Granted its my perception.
    and to your other topic, yes. When I owned my own cafe in Toronto we owners often said that Second Cup was the bar/pub of the 90's where people went to meet others, hang out and visit. Nice.